Gorilla Trek

How to Get the Best Out of a Gorilla Trek in Uganda

Gorilla trekking is one of the most popular wildlife encounters in Africa and all gorilla trekking parks provide a complete variety of accommodation, safari deals, wildness jungle setting for all treks including families, groups, plus individuals for all budgets. Explore the great gorilla parks of Africa and witness the life changing encounter of the giant silverback as it guides and protects all its family members playing an important role of a father in a home.Top gorilla trekking national Parks in Africa include, Bwindi forest, Mgahinga, volcanoes, Kauzi Biega and Virunga National park all great for gorilla tracking safari holidays.

Before Gorilla Trekking

Always gorilla trekking trip planning start from home but the real adventure kicks off with in the choice gorilla trekking destination. However, carrying your gorilla permit and other important trekking gears like trekking boots, long sleeved wears, rain jacket, insect repellant, bottled drinking water and other is a must before you embark on your gorilla trekking tour in either Uganda, Rwanda and Congo.

The days for the trek dress appropriate as advised and still recarry the gorilla permit, passport, snack, packed lunch, drinking water, walking stick and head to the park headquarters for early morning briefing from park officials. Hire a local porter to help you with luggage and move comfortable in the search of the beautiful apes. To protect the gorillas and the ecosystem, please respect all the gorilla trekking rules and regulations.

Keep It real & cooperate with others

Since you grouped into groups of eight with other tourists from different corners of the world, ensure that you move as a team during the search for primates in the rain forest. Be friendly and keep connected with the park rangers and other trackers for matters of safety in the forest. All gorilla trekking parks are home to several wildlife species including gorillas and no one can predict whom to find or meet on the way as you look for gorillas that wander far in search for food. Lower your voices before, with and after the encounter of gorillas because wild animals move away when they hear human voices hence making your trek easy and exciting.

Forest Safety

No need to worry about any harm or danger in the forest because each gorilla tracking group consists of main park rangers, and other armed scouts, other in front and others behind the group. This is done to protect tourists any forest harm especially the angry forest habitants and wild gorillas. So far no cases have been reported where any wild animal armed tourists but the daily protection of gorilla trekking tourists still continues.

Finding Gorillas

This is a worry for many gorilla trekking tourists wondering when and how will they find the endangered apes. However, with gorilla trekking tours in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo, a group of tracker rangers is always sent out in the forest early morning before your trek kicks off to trace the location of gorillas and also keep track of where they are heading hence making it easy for tourists to find them quick and easy. I think this confirms the saying that tracking gorillas can take between 1-6 hours depending on where they built their nest a night before the trek.

Meeting Gorillas

Once your group finds gorillas, the one hour duration clock starts ticking so make the best use of this time by enjoying photography and observation. Remain quiet, sit down and avoid sudden movements. You make look at gorillas but avoid direct eye contact they make it charge thing you planning to confront them. However, if you happen to look into its eyes and you notice a change in its character, don’t run but stand firm on ground and lower your eyes an indication that you have no bad intensions towards them. Please respect the rangers and work with them for a successful gorilla trekking tour in Africa.

Bwindi Gorilla

6 Great Gorilla Watching Tips You Should Know

Mountain gorillas are one of the critically endangered and huge animals in the world with fascinating features like fur which help them to live in coldness on the high altitude of mountains and in thick forests. Mountain gorilla trekking is an adventure activity that that involves climbing through the slippery rugged routes to access where the gorillas are residing in the deep forests. Through this amazing journey, you may be able to see very beautiful forest birds, beautiful scenic peaks of the volcanoes, evergreen forest filled with tree species and many more.

Mountain gorilla trekking is one of the most loves safari activities that are enjoyed by tourists all over the world. The activity is however not offered all over the world. It is only offered in four locations and only in Africa!. Which is why you must take the chance to carry out an adventurous and a memorable trip to the endowed Africa!. The activity takes place in Bwindi impenetrable National park and Mgahinga Gorilla National park of Uganda, Virunga National park of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda.

Mountain gorilla trekking offers the most amazing and ever-fascinating experience which is to be forever memorable to you through the thick forests in search for the precious mountain gorillas.

Before going for a gorilla tour a lot has to be put into consideration including the following;

Know where to go for trekking.                                             

Given that the mountain gorillas are only found in four destinations, and in three countries in the world, which is Bwindi impenetrable National park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park of Uganda, Virunga National park of The Democratic Republic of Congo and Volcanoes National park found in Rwanda. Therefore as you’re preparing for a gorilla trekking safaris it is better to know where you want to go gorilla trekking considering the mentioned gorilla trekking destinations. 

Know which Region your Trekking

Gorilla permits are allocated on the basis of regions, the regions with gorilla families in Bwindi and they are estranged by the long distances. The regions include Ruhija region is located in Eastern part with 3 families like Bitukura, Oruzongo and Kyaguriro.Buhoma region located in the north of the park and its home to 3 families gorilla families, that is Mubare, Rushegura and Habinyanja. There is also Rushaga sector which is located in the south and is home to 5 families including Kahungwe, Mishaya, Nshongi, Bweza and Busingye whereas Nkuringo region is located in the south and has Nuringo gorilla family.

Gorilla Trekking permits

Gorilla permits are a must have while going for gorilla tours in Uganda. The permits should be secured several months(3-6months) before the tour starts to avoid being disappointed on the day for the tour. Visitors are expected to book the Gorilla tracking permits through the travel companies regidtored with the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO) in order for you not to be cheated. This will help to make your work easier. In Uganda, permits are issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority through the registered tour operators on a first come first serve basis. The permits should be under your own names and never allow to use permits that are not under your names. The gorilla permit will determin many factors like which accommodation to be booked for you and more.

Know which Season is best for trekking

One should know which is the best season to go for gorilla trekking safaris in. In Uganda, the gorillas are visible in plenty and easily during the dry seasons compared to the rainy seasons where they tend to take shelter and are hard to spot. Therefore the favorable months include , june to August, December to February.

Best Hours of Trekking

Since you have travelled all the way to Uganda to have a lifetime experience with the gorillas, the good  gorilla packages will  guarantee you 1 hour of trekking which is recommended. You have 8 hours of the activity and 1 hour of close encounter and you should maximize it.

Accommodation and transport

After u have decided on which country or region where to go for trekking, you now have to decide on a nearby accommodation and consider an affordable transportation. It’s better to ask for advice from the operators since they know better which places will suit your interests. The tour operators will let you know all the levels of accommodation and transportation available so you can make choices and make a budget that suits you, moderate or high end.

Know the gorilla rules and regulations

The mountain gorillas are endangered species and once they feel threatened they will try to defend themselves therefore you should be aware and be in the know of what should be done and what shouldn’t be done while with the gorillas. Your visit to these primates should not bring danger to them but rather improve their lives. Your tour operator will be able to send you the gorilla trekking rules and regulations and how you must conduct yourself while with the mountain gorillas. Some of the rules include using non-flash photography, speaking on low tones and more.

What to pack

  • Long sleeved shirt with long trousers.
  • Carry a rain jacket for the rainy season.
  • Wear a hat.
  • waterproof hiking boots if you intend to go hiking.
  • A warm sweater
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera for your photography.
  • Insect repellant.
  • Energy giving food.
Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

Gorilla Trekking: 5 Tips for a Successful Trek in Africa

“On my first gorilla trekking in Africa in 2008, I felt as if I had been invited to a reunion of distant, hairy relatives. When I first saw the gorillas I took photos for a while, but then put my camera away so I could just watch. I stood mere feet from these powerful animals and they calmly let me be a part of their world. No glass, no bars, no rumbling safari car engine, no squinting through binoculars. Just humans and gorillas together in the forest”.

Those are some of the reviews of gorilla trekking, an amazing adventure experience that can only be got from Uganda, Rwanda or Congo. Though gorilla trekking is such a wonderful experience, a successful adventure in search of these giants requires proper planning. Today, it is common for most travelers going on safari in East Africa adding on a few days to see the mountain gorillas in Rwanda, Uganda, or the Democratic Republic of Congo. Here are the top travel tips that you should know about gorilla trekking in East Africa;

Gorilla trekking requires more active participation than traditional safaris, so it’s important to plan ahead so you are prepared for the challenge. Once you book a tour here are some important points to keep in mind:

1.       Dress for success

I have seen gorilla trackers tourists dressed in all kinds of outfits, from young women in skinny jeans and tennis shoes to well-heeled adventurers decked out in North Face gear that would rival anything you’d see at Mt. Everest base camp. Personally, I think you need to be prepared for muddy trails and changeable weather, but it’s not necessary to spend a fortune to be prepared.

Here’s what I recommend. On top, wear layers. Start with a shirt made of a synthetic material that dries quickly. I usually spend most of the trek up the mountain in a t-shirt as it can get quite warm and muggy in the forest. I usually add a fleece layer when the group stops and I start cooling down. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have a third rain layer. Rainstorms can happen at any time in the forest, and it’s no fun, not to mention dangerous, to be cold and wet for hours. You can bring a waterproof rain jacket, but a cheap poncho will also work.

On the bottom I wear long pants, also made of a synthetic material. Between the potential for cold weather and the stinging nettle plants of the forest, wearing shorts is an invitation for misery. Some trekkers also bring waterproof pants to wear on top of regular pants, but I usually don’t unless it’s the peak of the rainy season in April and May.

2.       Wear proper footwear

Boots that fit above the ankle are a must. You’ll probably walk through ankle-deep mud at certain points, and sometimes even knee-deep mud that threatens to suck the boots right off your feet. Because of this, you should wear gators over your boots that go up to the knee. When I trek, I go like the locals and wear knee-high rubber willies with treads on the bottom. I’m guaranteed to stay dry up to knees and the boots can be quickly cleaned and dried out for the next day. I wear Smart Wool socks underneath.

3.       Pack enough food and water

There’s no place to buy food and water once you get to the national parks so make sure you have at least a liter of water and some snacks to pack with you. Some treks last well into the afternoon, so I try to bring some energy bars and fruit to keep me going. Volcanoes Safaris’ lodges provide packed lunches for trekkers but it’s always nice to have a few favorite snacks from home in case you’re a picky eater.

4.       Speak up about your trekking preferences

When you arrive at park headquarters on the morning of your trek, the national park guides will assign you to a gorilla group. Technically, it’s not possible to book permits for a specific gorilla group. However, it is important to let your tour company representative know your fitness level, so they can work with the guides to assign you to group that will be within your ability to reach. Some groups are known for ranging far afield while others stay closer to the park boundaries or even go outside of the park. However, all groups move in search of food so there’s no guarantee that one group will be easier to reach than another. On certain days when fewer tourists are trekking than usual, you may be able to request specific groups. Closer groups with new babies tend to be the most popular. It’s hard to pick which groups are the “best” because they are all different and group size and composition changes from one year to the next. Every gorilla trek I’ve been on has been unique and revealed a new facet of mountain gorilla behavior.

5.       Make sure your camera is forest ready

I’ll offer more specific photography tips in a later blog, but here are the basics: Flash photography is not allowed as it disturbs the gorillas so make sure you have your camera manual with you so you know how to disable the automatic flash and automatic focus light functions. Photographs of gorillas in the low forest light often turn out dark due to underexposure. To avoid this, I tend to shoot at ISO 1250 or higher when in the forest. These days, newer models of both point-and-shoot and DSLR camera can handle relatively high ISOs without adding too much noise. No matter what kind of camera you bring, make sure you keep it in a waterproof bag (a large Ziploc will do) to avoid getting the camera wet. I’ve seen way too many nice cameras destroyed by African rainstorms.

The price for a Rwandan mountain gorilla trekking permit is $750, $ 500 dollars for Uganda and $ 400 dollars for the Democratic republic of Congo, so book your gorilla safari with Go Gorilla Trekking, adventure travel specialists for an agent to handle the paperwork for you.